In Search of Gus

Chapter 1

Budaghers Corner lies halfway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, a southwestern terrain with mysteries of its own but the one that held us captive for many weeks took us down a path we never expected.

The sound of Don's voice carried all of the emotions he was struggling to manage after a weekend of searching for Gus.  Hundreds of miles separated our homes and I longed to help in some way . . . and then an idea came to mind.

I’m the one in the family who explores ideas and practices considered unusual by some. Like many, I’ve had those brief moments of perceiving things, like having a sense of who’s calling before I answer the phone. These mysterious moments of knowing slip into our experience and are easily dismissed as interesting coincidences but a growing body of research and evidence is providing an expanded explanation to help us better understand the nature of our reality.

I dialed the dowser’s number.

“My brother lost his dog,” I said as my voice cracked and I struggled to hold back the tears. “He lives in Santa Fe.”

A raspy cough came through the phone. “Is it a small dog?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Is the dog white?”

How can she know this?  I wondered.  

A wave of possibilities swirled around us containing a scenario that held Gus safe and back home. The dowser was a lifeline to this outcome—it felt like help was arriving in ways we might not completely understand.

Family and friends know Don as a kind and generous soul who volunteers in adaptive ski programs for those with disabilities every winter and fundraises for different non-profits. It's his nature to lend an ear or share his time when others need help. But he struggles with being able to direct that same loving energy toward himself. He carries a sadness of ancient origin that has created challenges for him in his life.

At sixty-three, he cycles, skis and hikes and appears to be lean and healthy but six years ago, his heart revealed a different story.

He was out cycling on deserted roads north of Santa Fe and didn’t feel well so he climbed off his bike and started getting sick. A tow truck drove past, the only vehicle he had seen in an hour. The kind driver climbed down from his truck and walked quickly over to ask if he could help. Don managed to request a ride to his car several miles away but the man said he would take him to the fire station just a couple miles down the road instead.

The EMT’s loaded Don into an emergency van and they were on the way to the hospital when his heart stopped. A defibrillator delivered a jolt of electrical current into his chest and his life began again… with reframed perceptions and an altered path before him.


“I’m really sick,” the dowser said. “I may have pneumonia so let me get some sleep and I’ll call you back in a couple hours and then we can talk more about your brother’s dog.”

“Thank you,” was all I could say and then the dam broke open and the tears came. 

Ginny was quiet.  And then her voice changed—it softened and became gentler. “I have found many pets before,” she said. “And missing persons. I work with the police. Do you remember Chandra Levy? I gave the police the location where they would find her in Rock Creek Park. And they did.”

I exhaled a long breath and felt a shift in possibilities. A spark became ignited deep within as I remembered the choice we have to be co-creators of our own experience.


Elizabeth Mayer provided my introduction to dowsing in her book Extraordinary Knowing. After her daughter’s antique harp was stolen and Elizabeth had worked with the police for months to exhaust all leads, a friend suggested she contact a dowser. What’s that she asked?

A dowser is a person who can find things. Some are able to find lost items or treasures, others find natural resources like water and precious metals, and some can find lost people and pets. They are able to tap into information that exists beyond our five senses—some describe it as connecting with a universal consciousness or energetic library of all that is known.

As a psychiatrist, Elizabeth felt skeptical about dowsing but decided to give it a try and explore the possibilities… feeling she had nothing to lose. She contacted the head of the American Society of Dowsers, a gentleman in Arkansas who asked her to send him a map of Oakland where the harp had been stolen. After he received the map and conducted a search to locate the harp, he called her with a street address. Still having doubts and feeling unsure about what to do, Elizabeth decided to post flyers around the location he had provided with a picture of the harp and a reward. A few days later, she received a call.

A neighbor had seen her daughter’s harp at the address provided by the dowser.

As Elizabeth pulled into her driveway, with the antique harp sitting in the back of her car, one thought crossed her mind… this changes everything.

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